Bathinda Deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal laid the foundation stone of the second- generation ethanol bio-refinery at Tarkhanwala village in the district on Sunday in the absence of Union minister of state for petroleum Dharmendra Pradhan.
However, the government event virtually turned into a political rally of the SAD-BJP alliance, as leaders from both the parties made it a promotional event to promote party candidates, besides seeking votes for the alliance in the coming assembly elections.
Pradhan was scheduled to attend the event, but he cancelled his visit due to foggy weather. The function was delayed by three hours as even Sukhbir and his wife Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Union minister for food processing, reached the venue at 2pm. The event was scheduled to start at 11am.
Ironically, leaders of the SAD and the BJP, who addressed the gathering, talked less about the eco-friendly project, which would help to tackle the stubble-burning menace to some extent, but instead opted to slam their political opponents.
Addressing the gathering, the deputy CM said that the Congress would meet its death from state politics as the 2017 elections are going to be their (Congress) last elections.
“Though the fight is between the Congress and the Akali Dal, yet the Congress will perform worse than 2012 elections. Poll strategist Prashant Kishore is running the Congress campaign in Punjab, but he himself doesn’t know anything about the state,” Sukhbir said.
Attacking Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejrwal, Sukhbir said the AAP was a party of politically dejected leaders and only those leaders were joining the party, who were either shown the door by other political parties or had no political base.
“The AAP is trying to change turbans with its topis (caps) in Punjab, but the Punjabis would not make this happen for the party, whose anti-Punjab stance has been exposed on multiple occasions,” the deputy CM added.
Later on, in his address through video conferencing, Union minister of state for petroleum, Dharmendra Pradhan, said that the plant would augment the income of the farmers selling their biomass to the plant.
Listing the development agenda of Union government, Harsimrat said the ethanol bio-refinery would come in handy for improving the environmental level.
She added that the Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited would open 12 such plants across the country and the beginning has been made from Punjab.
About the plant
The Rs 600-crore project, to be set up by Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL), will help solve stubble-burning problem in Punjab.
The plant will have the consumption capacity of 400 tonne of biomass daily with manufacturing of 100 kilo litres of ethanol daily leading to annual production of 3.20 crore litre ethanol.
The HPCL claimed that this would result in fulfilling 26% ethanol-related need of the state.
Anil Pandey, executive director of the HPCL, says this plant will increase the prosperity of farmers besides ridding the region of the menace of pollution.
The capacity of the Guru Gobind Singh refinery is being increased from 9 million metric tonnes annually to 12 million metric tonne, which will meet the oil-related needs of the northern region, says Anil Pandey